Ernesto Valverde’s time at Barcelona ended in disappointment, the Basque manager getting the sack in January after failing to lift the team out of a bad run.
He had a decent spell in Catalonia however, and while he never hit the heights he might have hoped, he won trophies and got to coach some fo the world’s best – not least Leo Messi.
The Argentine magician is the key cog in any Barca manager’s plan, and in quotes picked up by Goal.com, Valverde revealed that coaching him a breeze too:
“It’s very difficult to tell him if you’ve seen this or another player when he does things in training that you haven’t seen yourself,” the 56 year old admitted.
“Many times, from the touchline, you’re always thinking what can be the best option and, ultimately, he sees it much better than you from on the pitch,” he continued.
“Messi is a very easy player to coach because he also has a great impulse with respect to the team. He has a great ambition to win, he always feels such an obligation to the game as for the club. He transmits that to the group and it forces everyone to be at a higher level.”
It’s a shame that the little genius couldn’t help Valverde to more success in his two and a half years at the Nou Camp. There was always a sense that the team were too reliant on Messi, and that failure always ends up landing at the coach’s feet.
Whether it was really an issue with the tactics Valverde was using, or just the reality of a decaying squad is something we will only really be able to tell when the next manager has had time to do his own work on the team.